US State Dept: “Unacceptable” for Israel to unilaterally end restrictions on Jewish prayer at Temple Mount

Tuesday, January 17, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags: ,

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – A US State Department spokesperson has told the Washington Free Beacon news outlet that it would be “unacceptable” to the Biden administration for Israel to unilaterally change the “historic status quo” and allow Jews to pray on Jerusalem’s famous Temple Mount.

The holiest location in Judaism, the Temple Mount, is the site of the first and second Biblical Temples. However, it is also the site of the Al Aqsa Dome of the Rock Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. When Israel took control of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War, it was decided that, in order to keep the peace, Jordan would retain daily authority over the Temple Mount even though the Israelis would be in overall charge of security. The “status quo” represents an understanding that Jews would not pray openly on the Mount, that only Muslims would be allowed to do so.

In the decades since 1967, the Temple Mount has been at the center of violent conflict between Jews and Palestinians, including when Jews have pushed back against restrictions on accessing and praying on the Mount.

Most recently, members of Israel’s new far-right government have aired the possibility of a policy change allowing Jews to attend the Mount to pray at will: tensions flared earlier this month when Israeli cabinet minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the Mount and suggested Israel may alter the status quo and lift restrictions on Jews.

Responding to this idea in a statement to the Free Beacon, the Biden administration spokesperson said the US would oppose any such effort by Israel. “The United States stands firmly for preservation of the historic status quo with respect to the holy sites in Jerusalem,” the spokesperson said. “Any unilateral actions that depart from the historic status quo is unacceptable.”

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